Can solar panels be moved?

Fast read

It's crucial to comprehend the product warranty terms before buying solar panels. Many solar panel warranties specify that the warranty is void if the panels are relocated to a different site.

Solar panels are delicate and may be harmed if moved carelessly. Therefore, it is advised to contact the original installer and obtain consent from the manufacturer if you have unique circumstances, such as the need to temporarily move the panels for roof repair, to prevent voiding the warranty.

It is also crucial to remember that the solar energy system must stay where it was initially installed to qualify for the Federal Government's STC panel rebate; otherwise, the rebate may have to be repaid. Instead of transferring an existing solar system to a new location, it is typically advised to expand it.

Can I move my solar panels to another roof without affecting the product warranty?

The product warranty conditions of many solar panels say that if you move the panels, the warranty is no longer valid.

If you sell your house, you don’t unbolt the panels, take them back to a new home, and bolt them back on. It’s just not worth it.

So the solar panels, after they’ve been installed, should stay on the original premises as the warranty is precisely for that location.

Reasons Behind the Warranty Clause

The reason for this warranty clause is that solar panels can be quite fragile, especially when moved, and the cells in the panels can suffer from micro-cracks if moved without care by inexperienced handlers.

Micro-cracks over time will lead to hot spots in the panels, and these hotspots will eventually shatter the glass, and the panels will stop working. 

So if you unbolt your panels and take them with you, you lose the warranty. That’s the simple answer.

workers are moving the solar panel
Solar panels must be moved with diligence as they can easily damage – so this method is NOT recommended

What about ‘Special Circumstances’

Nevertheless, sometimes there are special circumstances. For example, if there was a big storm and damage to the roof. Now, one has to move the solar panels off to repair the roof and put the panels back on; in those instances, if one applies the warranty fine print, one could lose the product warranty. But I would say that common sense hopefully applies to many solar panel manufacturers.

In the past, my team and I represented a major solar panel manufacturer, and we had calls from customers such as “We’re getting our roof repainted, and the solar panels cover some parts of the roof. We have to move the panels off for the job and then later put them back on”.

In those instances, we noted the address down and allowed the product warranty to continue in those common-sense cases. Also, in some examples, we probably would’ve never known that the PV panels were removed and put back on for a while.

Advice about moving Solar Panels

So if you have, for whatever reason, taken the panels off, my strong advice is to get in touch with the initial installer and get them to contact the manufacturer and get just a green light for your activity so that you’re not voiding your warranty.

Furthermore, the Federal Government STC panel rebate counts on your solar energy system remaining in its original installation location.

This means that if you decide to alter the location of your system after the installation, you could be requested to pay the rebate back. I have never heard of this occurring, but in theory and reality, you are in breach of the Federal rebate conditions.

Therefore, if you have moved into a new home with an existing solar system or want to ‘improve’ the solar system on your roof, expanding it from its original location rather than moving different aspects of the system is recommended.

And finally, if you want to take the panels with you and put them on a camper van or a boat or anything like that, the warranty will be, unfortunately, null and void.

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